What is this “passion” we speak of?


In a world where “passion” has become a trend more than something that gives you satisfaction, it is imperative to understand that passion is not that one thing that you stick to throughout your life and use it as a defence against everything. There’s this thing I always say about how an idea or action possesses its unique essence, but then everyone starts to create a cult around it and suddenly it’s not the same any more because it has lost its meaning.
To put it in a more comprehensive way:

“passion is not a job, a sport, or a hobby. it is the full force of your attention and energy that you give to whatever’s right in front of you.”

I stumbled across this Tedx video and it made so much sense.
Lately, passion has become the de rigueur of the generation. We are incessantly focusing on following our passion, nurturing it and worst of all, FINDING IT. It’s become the opening line of many conversations, the basis of comparison of our lives to that of others’, the benchmark for making life decisions and what not.
What we fail to notice though, is that, it has also become the cause of a lot of subconscious stress.

I don’t want to rant about it because I’ll just be repeating what’s in the video. Instead, I’ll share a personal example. (please read further only AFTER you’ve watched the video or else it won’t make enough sense)

I like to refer to myself as a person who doesn’t know how to go to any extremes. I am horrible at “fangirling” about anything. I can never get too attached, or know too much, or talk too much about any topic. I will never listen to the entire album of a singer, or finish a book in one day because I can’t put it down, or write too much poetry, or be loyal to a particular brand, or watch an entire season in a day, or desperately cry for something I want that my parents won’t buy me, or know quotes form a TV show at the tip of my tongue. You get the drift.
Basically I can never do or be too much of anything. It suffocates me and whether or not I want to, I just end up switching to something different after a while.

In ways, this has always been an issue for me. Somewhere or the other, I’d fall out of place and I tried a lot to change this. I felt like everyone around me had an undying passion for something or the other and I did not. This went on for quite some time until I realised that there was no need for it. It was something unique and I did not necessarily need to classify it as bad or good.
It wasn’t easy and I’m still in the process and probably will always be but another realisation that this brought to me was that my true passion lay in doing multiple things in a day, each for a limited period of time, so that I can enjoy all of them and not miss out on any. This is probably why I like to mentally plan my day and arrange activities back to back. I know I sound like a workaholic but trust me that’s not it because my plan includes time for sleeping and just staring at useless digital screens as well.

Initially I used to call writing my passion and this obviously got me a lot of applaud in the Indian society. I used to talk gloriously about how I’ll never stop writing. Till death do us part and all that jazz but then lately I realised that writing is not my passion. I love writing and it’s going to be my most efficient and respected form of communication but that doesn’t mean I should feel forced to do it no matter where I am in life. I will never stop writing but that doesn’t mean I will write every day for three hours till my last breath exits my body.
One could argue that in a way it is my passion because of how I feel about it but I felt compelled to denounce the argument because of the stress I used to undergo every time I felt like I couldn’t write.
I think that’s the mystery behind Writer’s Block. Sometimes, we writers feel like we SHOULD be writing and that pressure turns into Writer’s Block.

Passion and true calling can affect one very negatively depending on one’s circumstances, reaction and environment, which is why it is important to understand one’s own stance on it.
My passion could be something as simple as attending all lectures at college or staying up all night to finish a blog post. Either way, it is all the force and energy I’m putting into that task and not some vague concept that defines my way of being.

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